Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Day 7 of Organization ~ 5 Ways to Motivate Your Kids

I was sort of hoping that this post would write itself after I announced the topic. Alas, it didn't, so here I am trying to motivate myself to write it.

Disclaimer: This is not a one-size-fits-all post. All kids are different and are motivated by different things. In addition, teens are not motivated by the same things that motivate toddlers (although mine still like stickers on their school papers if all the questions are correct and they're neat). But, here are a few ideas to try that may not have crossed your radar yet.

1. Timers
Remember that we talked about setting up schedules for our kids last week? (Click here if your memory is like mine!) Well, after you've figured out how much time each subject should take (approximately; you may need to make some adjustments), do your teaching for a particular subject, then set the timer for the alloted amount of time. Even kids who can't tell time well can see that they have 20 minutes or 5 minutes left. One of my girls liked to play beat the timer with her own stats. She kept a log of how long each thing took her each day, then tried to beat that time by even a minute each day (it worked for a while at least!).

2. Sticker Chart
Make a chart for each kid and let them add a sticker either for every subject they finish on time (or early) each day, or add a sticker for each day that they finish all of their subjects on time or early. When the chart is full, dole out a reward that was previously agreed upon.

3. Reward Punch Card
This is the same principle as the sticker chart. I found little cards (labeled good behavior or something) at our local education store and punched a hole for each day of EXCEPTIONAL behavior. Not just good behavior, which was expected, but over and above that. When the card was completely punched out, I took them to Claire's to pick out a small reward. Obviously, you'll have to think of a different reward for your boys or tomboys. :-) Exceptional behavior was defined as finishing school work on time, no whining or pouting, getting along with sister, and being cheerful. Make it work for you; every family has different expectations and needs.

4. Additional Computer or TV Time
For our media-savvy kids, additional computer or TV time may be an incentive to finish school work early. This is especially useful if you currently have time limits for media usage. Finishing school work early could earn additional time, but be sure to write out the expectations and the rewards clearly so everyone's on the same page.

5. Praise from You and Dad
This may seem obvious, but I know I am often guilty of forgetting to praise my kids for a job well done, or even for a good effort. When we're with them day in and day out, school gets to be routine. We need to remember to praise our blessings for a job well done (as well as a good effort) on a regular basis. Our kids are sponges and soak up those important words! It's important for Dad to get in on the schoolwork praise as well. Leave tests and other papers at Dad's spot at the kitchen table so he can be involved, too.

Q4U: What are your best kid-motivation tips? I know I haven't covered everything and I sure don't have all of the answers!

Giveaway? Did I just see a giveaway? Yes, you did! I'm giving away 1 FREE ticket for Heart of the Matter's upcoming Winter Conference. Get a big dose of encouragement February 21-23 from such speakers as Carol Barnier, Amanda Bennett, Kim Kautzer, and more. The best part is that you can attend in your jammies! This is an online conference. If you can't attend all of the sessions live, you'll be able to listen to the Mp3s later.

Giveaway rules: Everyone who comments at least once on my blog during the 10 Days of Organization (not on Facebook, Twitter, or email) will be entered to win the ticket. You may comment every day (but only once per post) for more chances to win. I will announce the winner on Feb. 18, the last day of the blog hop. Be sure to leave your email address with your comment (or another way for me to contact you). This contest is open to anyone living anywhere in the world since it is a virtual conference.

Be sure to visit my fellow bloggers on the blog hop:
10 days of socialization for mom | The Homeschool Chick
10 days of classical education | Milk & Cookies
10 days of large families | Chocolate on My Cranium
10 days of special needs | Special Needs Homeschooling
10 days of struggling learners | Homeschooling the Chaotic Family
10 days of homeschooling girls | Homegrown Mom
10 days of homeschool enrichment | Confessions of a Homeschooler
10 days of building a spiritual legacy | Mommy Missions
10 days of frugal homeschooling |The Happy Housewife
10 days of Charlotte Mason | Our Journey Westward
10 days of unschooling | Homeschooling Belle
10 days of organization | Confessions of an Organized Homeschool Mom
10 days of getting started | Blog, She Wrote
10 days of homeschooling boys | The Tie That Binds Us
10 days of homeschooling Montessori |  Fruit in Season
10 days of preschool |  Delightful Learning

Brought to you by Heart of the Matter Online.